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A review of Upcircle's coffee and floral oils face scrub for sensitive skin

The Happy Sage purchased this product.

upcircle coffee face scrub with floral oils for sensitive skin photographed on a stone wall with packaging box

Upcircle Beauty

There is lots to love about Upcircle. They make natural skincare products and they use recycled ingredients in their products. By recycled I mean ingredients that are waste products from other processes such as waste coffee grounds in their scrubs and residual chai spices which are left over from making chai syrups in their soaps, as well as date seeds and blueberry extract in other products.

It's a brilliant concept for sustainable skincare products. Their packaging is also 99% plastic free and refills are available for the remaining 1%. You can return your empty packaging to them with a freepost label and get a refill with up to 20% off too!

Their products are all sustainable, vegan and cruelty free and do not contain any SLS, SLE's, parabens, mineral oils, parfum or sulfates. (read Ingredients to Avoid in Skincare Products).

I'm a massive fan of facial exfoliating (read all about the Benefits of Facial Exfoliating) so decided to give Upcircle a try, and as I have sensitive skin I ordered the coffee face scrub with floral oils for sensitive skin. Upcircle have recently changed their packaging and the coffee face scrub now comes in a jar (as show below), but when I bought mine it came in a recyclable metal tube and box as shown above,

a jar of upcircle face scrub with new packaging

Upcircle Coffee Face Scrub review

The product itself is slightly thick when you squirt it out of the tube, so quite manageable in consistency. It smells strongly of coffee, which is fine by me, but some people may not be as appreciative! You can very faintly smell essential oils in the background and the sensitive skin version of the face scrub uses orange, geranium, rosemary, bergamot, patchouli, bitter orange and chamomile essential oils.

It also contains shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba, apricot and rosehip oils as part of the base, along with coffee seed powder as the exfoliating agent.

Upcircle floral face scrub - ingredients

The face scrub contains 99% natural ingredients:

Coffea Arabica Seed Powder, Sucrose, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Pogostemom Cablin (Patchouli) Leaf Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Leaf Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Oil, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Sorbic Acid

*Limonene, *Citronellol, *Geraniol, *Linalool. *Natural constituent of essential oils listed.

How to use Upcircle coffee face scrub for sensitive skin

The instructions say to shake well before use and apply to damp skin in circular motions, leave for a few minutes, rinse with warm water and pat dry.

a photo showing upcircle face scrub out of the container

The consistency of the product feels a bit weird but I've used far worse! The biggest problem for me is that the scrub literally scratches my skin. This is a problem with face scrubs that do not have even sized particles of exfoliator, in this case the coffee grounds. Coffee grounds are a great idea in theory but each particle is a completely different size and shape and they have edges which scratch the skin.

Even though I used the product extremely gently I could tell that it was damaging my skin and it was likely to end up red and inflamed. When your skin is even mildly irritated like this it upsets the normal skin mantle (which protects the skin) making it more likely to break out, get inflamed or irritated and red.

I washed the product off gently with warm water and patted dry but my skin felt a bit greasy, as if the product had not washed off properly. Looking at the ingredients there is a lot of shea butter and coconut oil in the product and I find it too heavy, even for dry and sensitive skin. It's not true that dry skin needs extremely heavy oils to treat it.

What appears worse is that Upcircle seem to use the same base recipe for their three face scrubs and just change the essential oils between the different face scrubs for dry skin, sensitive skin and skin prone to acne. Whilst the essential oils they use in each case can certainly be a great help, I would never recommend anyone with acne prone skin use a product with such a high concentration of coconut oil in on their face, especially as it is only being rinsed off and not washed off.

Some people feel that there are anti-bacterial properties in coconut oil that can help acne, but coconut oil is highly comedogenic which means that is will block pores and therefore should not be used on oily skin, which is usually the type of skin that is prone to acne. Add to this the fact that the actual scrub particles are causing micro-abrasions to the face and it's unfortunately not a product that I would recommend as a face scrub, even if you have normal skin. It would be a complete no-no to use for anyone with rosacea.

In my opinion the base is way too oily and the exfoliating particles too coarse and sharp. It's a shame because the values and ethics of the company are great but I just don't think a whole lot of thought went in to the formulation of the face scrubs. Making one base and varying it only with essential oils isn't, in my opinion, the right way to go about tackling the different needs between sensitive, dry or acne prone skins.

The other downside was that it does make a mess when you use it. It gets all over the place and because of the heavy butter and coconut oil it leaves a greasy film around the sink which needs cleaning off.

Other uses for Upcircle coffee face scrub

However, as with most natural products, if it doesn't suit you then there is usually another use for it! I have been using this product as a hand scrub and it works so well!

The skin on the hands (unless you have eczema, broken skin or similar issues) will usually withstand a harder scrub and the heavier oil base with the shea butter and coconut oil are perfect for softenng and protecting the skin on the hands. I use it before bed and put hand cream on afterwards. You may even find it OK as a body scrub but I'm not going to risk trying it myself!

So, all was not lost. although I tried the product on my face a couple of times, I won't be using it again, it is just far too rough for sensitive skin, but at least I have a good hand scrub!

I will certainly be trying out another product from Upcircle as I feel the company has a lot to offer, and am hoping that some of their other products perform well, but this is not a product that will be making it through to The Happy Sage Recommended Products Directory.

Upcircle Coffee Face Scrub - floral blend for sensitive skin £14.99 for a 100ml jar.

If you want great nails to go with your freshly scrubbed and moisturised hands, check out my How to Make Nails Grow Faster post.

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